Medical receptionist

Medical receptionists are part of the front-line staff in NHSScotland. Often, they are the first person patients and visitors speak to when they are in hospitals, clinics or other healthcare settings. They are excellent communicators who welcome people and visitors.

They also make sure patient appointments and in-patient admissions are administered and processed accurately.

Starting your career

Choosing subjects at school

To become a medical receptionist, you need a good standard of education. There are no entry requirements, but useful subjects include:

  • Administration and IT
  • English
  • Maths


An apprenticeship is a good way to start your career in healthcare.

Modern Apprenticeships

A Modern Apprenticeship in Healthcare Support (non-clinical) is appropriate for people interested in working in a non-clinical healthcare support role.

Other relevant Modern Apprenticeships include:

Find out more about apprenticeships at

Work placement

If you’re at school or thinking of changing career, doing a work placement could help you when applying to college, university or for a job in healthcare. You’ll learn new skills, improve your knowledge and discover what it’s like to work in the health service. Find out how to apply for work experience with the NHS.

The role

You will provide high-quality, professional reception service to patients, doctors and staff. You’ll be the first point of contact for patients and must portray the NHS in the highest possible manner. It will be your role to make sure that enquiries are efficiently handled.

What you’ll do

Your main tasks include:

  • booking, amending and cancelling patient appointments
  • entering new patients’ details onto computer systems
  • answering queries from patients and other staff
  • collecting patient notes and filing electronically
  • answering incoming telephone calls, making sure calls are documented and redirected accordingly
  • maintaining patient confidentiality at all times

You might have to combine your job with other admin duties.

Top skills

You’ll need these skills:

  • accuracy
  • communication
  • listening
  • organisation
  • planning
  • teamwork

Who you’ll work with

You could work with:

  • GPs
  • consultants
  • clerks
  • health records staff

Working environment

You could work in:

  • a hospital
  • clinics
  • GP surgeries
  • community health centres

Useful information

To work as a medical receptionist in NHSScotland, you’ll need to:

Learning and development

You will be encouraged to develop your career in NHSScotland and will be given training such as:

  • an introduction to the department and its procedures
  • health and safety
  • risk management

You may also have the chance to study for additional qualifications, including:

The Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) website has a full range of qualifications on offer for staff working in business, administration, IT, finance and medical records.

Gaining these new qualifications will help your career prosper. You’ll be able to apply to more senior roles, and progress to jobs such as team leader or office manager. You could also move into other senior roles in business and administration.

A full guide to the NHSScotland Education Pathways for Business and Administration is available.